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Shared Parental Leave: The Financial Hurdle

Many couples consider putting off having children until they have reached a certain stage in their career. 

In a survey conducted by Slater and Gordon earlier this year, nearly half of the 1000 women we spoke to said that the introduction of Shared Parental Leave would encourage them to have children younger, as they will no longer need to worry about the impact of spending so much time away from work when they are starting to establish their career.

With the new Shared Parental Leave regime, it is possible for both parents to potentially continue climbing their career ladders whilst raising a child.

Every year, 285,000 couples are now set to be eligible to take Shared Parental Leave in the UK and they could use the flexibility it allows to manage both their careers.

The main barrier for parents wanting to take up Shared Parental Leave is likely to be financial. For those on Shared Parental Leave, the Statutory Shared Parental Pay will be limited to a maximum of £139.58 per week, and that’s before taxes! So, unfortunately, the prospect of taking up Shared Parental Leave may not be financially viable for many parents in the UK.

Check your employer’s policy on maternity, paternity and Shared Parental Leave pay as it might be more generous than the statutory amount. This could impact on your decision.

Forecasts suggest that only around 22,800 couples will take up Shared Parental Leave each year. This would be disappointing but unsurprising. Whilst there are numerous benefits to Shared Parental Leave, there are still some major hurdles that remain. Hurdles that still need to be overcome include a cultural shift as well as greater financial support in order to make parents keen to take up the right to Shared Parental Leave.

Read our blog on How Fathers are Suffering Post-Natal Depression to discover why a cultural shift is vital in order for men to be able to become equals in parenting.

Slater and Gordon Employment Lawyers are experts in maternity and paternity discrimination and can help with employment law advice.

If you have experienced maternity or paternity discrimination for applying for Shared Parental Leave contact our expert Employment Solicitors on freephone 0800 916 9060 or contact us online and we will call you back.


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